Winter is coming and with that, you can look forward to cozy nights in front of the fire. That is if your fireplace is clean. If you haven’t prepared your fireplace for the cold season, you just might end up with smoke and soot everywhere. It can also be downright dangerous. Here’s how to clean a fireplace to get it ready for winter.
Make Sure There Aren’t Hot Ashes or Embers Remaining
Cleaning your fireplace is one of the things you should do before the first snowfall. Before you tackle the task, however, you need to make sure there aren’t any hot ashes or embers in it. If you’ve made a fire recently, wait at least a day or two so that everything has cooled completely before trying to clean it.
Spread an old sheet, a tarp or something similar on the floor around the base of your fireplace. You may also want to cover your furniture because you’re about to start a very messy project. Covering everything up first will save you the time and effort of having to clean ash from your carpets and furniture afterwards. It’s also a good idea to wear old clothes and rubber gloves.
There might be debris like chunks of wood and coals left in your fireplace. Remove this first. You can save pieces of wood for later use. Discard everything else into a bin that you keep close by while cleaning your fireplace.
Your next step is to give your fireplace a good sweep to remove the ashes and dust. You can save some of the fine ash for cleaning your fireplace glass later on. Use a small brush and sweep the walls as far up as you can go. Then sweep the floor. A great hack for how to clean ashes out of a fireplace is to sprinkle them with coffee grounds first, so they don’t scatter in the air that easily. Discard the ashes before moving on to the next step. You can sprinkle them in your garden to provide your plants with nutrients.
Once you’ve removed most of the ashes and dust, you can give everything a good vacuuming. One of the amazing cleaning products our editors can’t live without is a handheld vacuum cleaner that’s just perfect for getting into all those nooks and crannies. Remove the protective sheeting from the floor and furniture and vacuum those surfaces too, just in case.
Spray Down the Fireplace
Once you’ve removed every bit of ash and dust, it’s time to get tackle the bricks. First, remove the grate or andirons. Then thoroughly spray down the area with water until it’s wet. This will keep your cleaning products from soaking into the bricks too fast and causing damage. It also acts as a pre-soak.
Have the Right Cleaning Products
Cleaning smoke damage off bricks requires some elbow grease, but a good fireplace cleaning product will make things easier. Your fireplace is one of the things you should be cleaning with baking soda, if you prefer a cheaper alternative to store-bought products. Simply mix about a quarter cup baking soda with about three tablespoons of dish soap to make a thin, spreadable paste.
Apply Your Cleaning Product
Do a spot test first to see how your fireplace surface reacts to your cleaning product. Then dip a brush in the product and start applying it to the surface in gentle circular motions. Don’t scrub too hard or you’ll damage the surface. Once the surface is covered in the cleaning product, let it sit. For the baking soda paste, three to five minutes should be enough. For a store-bought product, follow the instructions on the label.
Now you need to start scrubbing and wiping. Remember to be gentle when you’re using a brush or toothbrush to get into the hard-to-reach places in between the bricks. Wipe away the cleaning product with a wet cloth. If your fireplace is very dirty, you may need to repeat the process a few times.
Clean the Grate or Andirons
It may be easier to take the grate or andirons outside to clean. Simply scrub them with a bit of dish soap to remove the soot and then rinse them with water. Wipe them with a cloth to dry them. Then put them back in the clean fireplace.
Check the Warranty on Your Fireplace Insert
The first step in how to clean a fireplace insert is to check your warranty. You can void the warranty if you don’t clean the insert according to the manufacturer’s instructions or recommendations. If the warranty is still good, you may even get the company to clean the insert as part of the warranty agreement.
Clean the Fireplace Glass
Make sure the fireplace glass is cool to the touch and remove the screen if you need to. Now follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the grime off the glass. Alternatively, dip a damp cloth or balled-up newspaper into fine ash and use this to scrub the glass until it’s clean.
Give the Fireplace Glass a Final Wipe
Once you’ve removed all the sooty grime from the fireplace glass, you need to give it a final wipe-down. One option is to spray it with a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar and then wipe it off with a paper towel. Another option is to use a dry microfibre cloth.
Make a Cleaner for the Fireplace Screen
To clean the fireplace screen, you might want to cover the floor with a sheet first. Then fill a spray bottle with about two-thirds warm water, three tablespoons of vinegar and a tablespoon of salt. Shake it until the salt has dissolved. Spray this solution onto the screen and let it sit for about ten minutes.
Clean the Fireplace Screen
Use a soft brush to scrub your fireplace screen once the spray solution has done its work. Then use a damp cloth to wipe off the screen. Dry the screen with another cloth or towel.
Remove the Creosote
Creosote is toxic, so use a dust mask and gloves for this part. Remove all debris from the fireplace insert and then give it a good sweep and a vacuum to get rid of dust and soot. Then scrub away the creosote with a brush and a mixture of about four litres of water and a cup of bleach. Finally, wipe the insert down with a damp rag.
Turn off the Gas Before Cleaning a Gas Fireplace
A gas fireplace is an essential part of some of the best farmhouse living room ideas if you live in the city. The first step – and a very important one – for how to clean a gas fireplace is to turn off the gas. If you don’t, you may cause a potentially deadly gas leak. After you’ve turned off the gas, wait a few minutes so that the gas can leave the piping.
Brush off the Gas Logs
You may want to take the gas logs outside for cleaning. Brush them gently with a soft paintbrush to remove the dirt. They’re very fragile, so be careful. Before you put them back in the fireplace, check them for signs of damage. Also remember to put the undamaged logs back exactly like they were, without rearranging them.
Clean the Lava Rocks
Put the lava rocks on an old towel and then vacuum each one individually with a hose attachment. You can tie a piece of cheesecloth over the mouth of the attachment to prevent it sucking up small pieces of rock.
Clean the Gas Fireplace
First vacuum the inside of your gas fireplace. Then wipe down the inside with water, without using chemicals that might react with the gas. Clean the glass covering like you’d clean a regular fireplace glass and clean the exterior like you’d clean a brick fireplace. Now you can try some gorgeous fireplace mantel decorating ideas for that final touch.